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Recall: BETTER THAN A THOUSAND live in Sao Paulo, 1999

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Ray Cappo’s amazing project BETTER THAN A THOUSAND was one of his most powerful, energetic and emotional dedications. Featuring his buddy Graham Land of SHELTER, Jeff Neuman and Ken Olden of BATTERY, SHELTER and DAMNATION AD, BETTER THAN A THOUSAND delivered a quality 80s youth crew hardcore assault featuring classic elements of the old school hardcore style and “lyrics that challenge us to look at ourselves, the hardcore scene, education and the world we live in today”.

Better Than a Thousand was essentially a side project that, like many such projects in the hardcore punk scene, eventually took on a life of its own. The group’s genesis lay in the creative duo of guitarist/songwriter Graham Land and drummer Ken Olden, a Washington, D.C.-area straight-edge kid who played guitar for the straight-edge revival outfit Battery and the decidedly metal Damnation AD. The two of them desired to craft a body of songs that recalled the spirit of the bygone “youth crew” era of positive-thinking espousing, fast-paced moving, sing-a-long inducing hardcore. They made a bunch of songs and thought, “who better to sing on this than Ray Cappo?” Cappo had virtually led the genre through it’s previous incarnation, fronting straight-edge flag wavers Youth of Today, before disbanding the group to devote his life to being a Hare Krishna monk and preaching the religion’s ideas through the band Shelter. Shelter played hardcore music for a time, but had by that point evolved into something much slicker and more commercial, so Cappo jumped at the chance to revisit his past barking-vocal style. He enthusiastically laid down all of his parts in two days, in a bedroom studio setup. His voice can even be heard getting noticeably hoarse by the end of Just One, Better Than a Thousand’s debut album, released in July 1997 through Revelation Records. The group began touring when it could, between its members full-time projects’ schedules. They even released a second album, Value Driven, in the late ’90s, before quietly dissolving.

00:00 – Sunshine
01:06 – Demand Independence
04:08 – Motivation
06:23 – Self Worth
08:33 – Poison in Your Brain
09:56 – Just One
11:50 – Born To Give
14:12 – Once Again
17:15 – It Never Rains
19:00 – We Spoke Our Minds
22:05 – I Can Make a Difference
24:50 – Power Within
27:25 – Education
30:06 – Apology
33:33 – We Must Believe
36:14 – I’ll Not Resist
39:00 – Live Today
44:35 – Take a Stand
47:50 – Civilized Man
51:33 – Young ‘Til I Die

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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